Retail Crime Spree
Shoplifting is on the rise and it may be costing you money, even if you don’t own a store.
According to the 2009 Global Retail Theft Barometer Study, 41.2% of retailers worldwide experienced a significant increase in shoplifting this year, largely spurred by the recession. In the United States alone, retail crimes, which primarily include shoplifting and employee theft, resulted in a net loss of $42.2 billion, from June 2008 through June 2009.
Yet, as CNN Money reports, the loss was often passed on to American consumers. Each family was forced to pay approximately an extra $435 when purchasing these items because retail stores raised prices to compensate for money lost from stolen goods. Worst of all, as the study emphasizes, there are relatively few protections in place for the most shoplifted items, just the basic surveillance systems.
Since we are all essentially picking up the tab for many of these items, we might as well see what we’ve bought. Here are some of the most shoplifted items of the past year. Some will undoubtedly surprise you.
Photo Credit: Daquella manera
No, shoplifters are not suicidal, as far as we know. They just appreciate a good shave. Shaving products are traditionally one of the most popular items to be stolen from stores. Back in 2003, the Mach 3 shaver from Gillette was declared the most shoplifted product in the world. The incentive, according to reports, was that they have a high “value-to-size ratio.” In other words, they’re easy to fit in your pocket and easy to resell. Not much risk to speak of, unless of course, this man is your father.
Photo Credit: dotbenjamin
Cosmetics in general suffered the worst shrink rates of any retail sector this year, losing nearly 2% of its sales due to shoplifting and employee theft, according to the Retail Theft report. Face creams and perfumes were two of the most popular stolen cosmetic items.
Photo Credit: dreamglow
Video game systems are hard to steal, at least compared with video games. That said, enough people have managed to steal this and other games and gaming systems to put a serious dent in the industry, robbing it of 1.4% of its sales. Although, not everyone is smooth enough to get away with this crime. One person tried to steal a remote for the Wii and ended up in a brawl with security.
Photo Credit: gwire
This one shouldn’t be too surprising. According to RadicalParenting.com, alcohol is one of the most popular shoplifted items among teens (along with Red Bull and candy). But what is surprising is that, when surveyed, many teens did not consider stealing alcohol to be shoplifting. Why? The logic seems to be that since they aren’t allowed to buy it, there just aren’t other options available.
Photo Credit: Zak A
Meat is the reigning king of stolen goods in America. As Consumerist reported in 2007, meat used to rank second to health care items, back when cough medicines containing pseudoephedrine were sold over the counter (Americans stole tons of this to make crystal meth).
But now meat tops Americans’ must-have-without-paying lists. For a deeper analysis of why Americas love shoplifting meat and what stores could do to prevent it, check out this in-depth piece by Slate (the piece is more interesting than it sounds).
Photo Credit: Thomas R. Stegelmann
Like the cosmetic sector, clothing retailers have lost close to 2% of their sales due to store theft. Brand name handbags, leather products and other accessories account for most of what’s stolen.
Photo Credit: infomatique
This could mean the rise of baby shoplifters … we should have seen it coming. In all seriousness, the problem got so bad a few years ago that many retailers had to put the baby formula behind the counter. Earlier this year, Kroger experimented with a special display rack for formula that has an automatic delay to prevent customers from hoarding items. Other stores just keep less on the shelves to begin with.
Photo Credit: v_36
Of all the items on the list, this may be the one we understand the least. If more people are stealing because they are out of work, what do they need to know the time for? Just sleep, shoplifters. Sleep.
Photo Credit: flippunkrocker